This I Believe
An original essay by: Candice Fowler
I believe in the power of listening to people.
If you listen, you will gain knowledge that will have value for the rest of your life. I have been lucky enough to have people in my life – watching out for and helping me. Some have helped me find new perspectives on topics I thought I knew. Some have stretched my beliefs about myself. All have had a lasting impression on me through their spoken words.
One such person gave me the best advice about the future – although at the time, who would have thought I’d still be living by those words some 25 years later. “Be smart, act smart – forget about popularity or looks – knowledge is power and when you have knowledge – use it well.” I wonder does that person even know how many times I have remembered those words? Be smart – and I took heed to be as smart as I could. With my master’s in education I am on my way to becoming a principal after 17 years in the field. I have had many opportunities to use my knowledge well and find joy in helping others seek their potential. Working with parents of special education students has given me a greater appreciation of and a desire to use my knowledge toward creating the best educational programs for the benefit of children.
When faced with a difficult decision this person casually said “It is easy to stay on the path where you are – it’s scary to get off. Do not stay the course for others sake…you must do it for yourself.” Listening helped me to make that tough decision and the advice has had much influence on my life. I have learned to take the time to set goals and create opportunities for achieving them. I have begun to understand that I am in charge of my destiny and each one of us has the ability to make the choices that guide our lives. Listening to those quickly spoken words and reflecting upon them has helped me become the independent person I am today.
As I continue through life I ask – “have I used my knowledge well? Did I listen?” The many positive examples to those questions are evidence that I have. I hope that you take the time to listen and please let that influencing person know their impact upon you. Some of us will call them a mentor, a friend, a guardian angel…I call mine – DAD.
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